Poetry by Robert McDowell: “The Promise of Hunter’s Moon”

Poet, activist, and spiritual workshop leader Robert McDowell sent out this powerful poem in his e-newsletter to commemorate the International Day to End Violence Against Women (Nov. 25). McDowell’s work focuses on actualizing the sacred feminine to bring about gender equality and reconciliation. He has kindly allowed me to reprint it below.

The Promise of Hunter’s Moon
by Robert McDowell

At some point we’re all coming back as birds.
We’ll begin in the muck, unrecognizable, stinking,
Until creatures with hands or tools for hands
Scoop us up and start squeezing and pulling.
Suddenly there we are, unmistakably beaked,
Straining against thin leather thongs that someone
Had the good sense to tie around rocks and our twiggy legs.
It’s a good thing, this confinement, because free
We’d rip and tear apart anything we could reach.
The things with hands, or tools like hands, feed us
A mixture of water and the blood of the beheaded,
And with this inside of us we develop fast,
Looking more like giant birds you’d recognize
By the minute. Our feathers grow black and glossy,
And the thicker they become the meaner we feel.
When they just can’t grow anymore they fall out.
Our featherless bodies are disgusting to touch,
Hideous to behold. Where once we were murderous,
We grow timid under the mirror-hot sun. Then
More feathers appear, small, white feathers,
Beautiful, snowy plumes that dazzle in moonlight.
When we’re ready she comes. Out of the sea and sky,
Out of the barren ground she comes. Astonishing
Is her loveliness, perfected is her power.
She rises and walks among us as we bow,
Obedient, peaceful, and so in love.

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